Sikkim at a glance

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state located in the Himalayan mountains. Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas; the climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal. Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open land border between India and China.

According to legend, the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche visited Sikkim in the 8th century AD, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the monarchy. Sikkim's Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. In the 19th century, it allied itself with the British rulers of India, but was soon annexed by them. Later, Sikkim became a British protectorate, before merging with India following a referendum on abolishing the monarchy in 1975.

Sikkim is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepali majority. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2011 the state has the fourth-smallest GDP among Indian states, although it is also among the fastest-growing.

Area 7,096 km²
Capital Gangtok
Population 6.19 lakhs
Official Languages Nepali

Sikkim is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and northeast, by Bhutan to the southeast, by the Indian state of West Bengal to the south, and by Nepal to the west. The capital is Gangtok, in the southeastern part of the state.

  • Bumchu Festival
    Bumchu Festival

    This Festival Is Celebrated At Tashiding Monastery On The 15th Day Of The First Month Of The Tibetan Calendar. Bumchu Or The Opening Of The Vessel Containing The Holy Water Is One Of The Holiest Festivals In Sikkim. The Level Of Water In This Vessel Is Believed To Be A Sign Of The Fortunes Of The Coming Year.

    Each Year, The Vessel Is Opened To Verify The Level Of Water In It, It Follows That If The Water Level Is Higher Or Lower Then It Signifies Ill Fortune Such As Droughts, Diseases And Natural Calamities. A Special Recitation Is Conducted And The Seal Of The Vase Is Checked Before It Is Taken Out Of The Case.

    After The Vessel Is Opened, The Monks Take Seven Cups Of Water From It And After Mixing It With Water From Rathong Chu Distribute It Among The Devotees. To Fill The Vessel Again, Seven Cups Of Water Are Taken From Rathong Chu And Put Into The Vase And Sealed Until Next Year.

    Devotees From All Over Sikkim As Well As Neighboring Countries Like Bhutan, Nepal, Etc. Come To Take Part In This Festival.

  • Losar Festival
    Losar Festival

    Losar Is The Tibetan New Year Which Falls In The Month Of February And Is Likewise Celebrated By Inviting Friends And Relatives For Family Gatherings. Two Days Prior To Losar, The Gutor Chaam Is Performed At Rumtek Monastery Depicting The Battle Between Good And Evil And The Ritualized Destruction Of Evil.

  • Maghe Sankranti
    Maghe Sankranti

    Maghe Sankranti, Or The First Day Of The Tenth Month Of The Bikram Sambat Calendar Which Heralds The Onset Of Warmer Weather Is A Major Secular Festival Of The Nepalese. Known As Makker Sakranti In Other Parts Of India, The Festival Is Observed For Three Days, Usually In Mid January. It Falls On The Fourteenth Of January Every Year. A Bathing Festival Called Makkar Is Observed, When People Take A Dip At The Confluence Of The Tista And Rangit.

    On This Day Huge Fairs And Melas Are Held In Many Places Along The River Banks And Confluence Of Rivers. The Biggest And Most Awaited Is The Jorethang Maghe Mela, Held In Jorethang In South Sikkim. It Has Now Become A Major Event, Attracting Hordes Of Locals And Tourists. The Mela Is Said To Have Evolved From The Agricultural Fair That Was Held In Jorethang For The First Time In 1955. Hundreds Of Stalls Selling And Exhibiting Various Products Are Put Up For The Huge Number Of People Who Visit The Fair.

  • Mangan Music Festival
    Mangan Music Festival

    A Three Day Music Festival Is Held At Mangan In North Sikkim From The 12th To The 14th Of December Every Year. Bands From The Region As Well As From The Northeast States Entertain The Huge Gathering And Compete For The Main Prize. Mountains, Music And The Cold Weather Create An Enthralling Event. Other Attractions Include An Exhibition Cum Sale Of Local Handicrafts, A Presentation Of Traditional Cultural Songs And Dances And A Food Festival.

  • Heritage & Culture
    Heritage & Culture

    For Over Three Centuries Sikkim Was A Buddhist Kingdom And Cultural Aspect Of This Land Is Largely Dominated By This Religion. The Ritual Chanting's By Monks At Prayer And Devotion Still Resonate Boldly From The Cloistered Halls Of Monasteries Where On Special Occasions Each Year, Their Courtyards Come To Life With Spectacular Ceremonial Dances - Brightly Costumed Monks In Bizarre Masks Cavort To The Tune Of Ancient Horns And Drums. Just As Khangchendzonga The Mighty Protector Deity Reigns Supreme Above, Buddhism Prevails On Solid Ground. Sikkim Has A Multi-ethnic Society Comprising Of Three Major Groups, Bhutia, Lepcha, And Nepali. Recent Migrations Into The State Include A Sizeable Number Of Tibetans Who Fled Their Land In The Mid-fifties, And Business Entrepreneurs From India Predominantly Of The Marwari And Bihari Communities. The M

  • Cuisine

    Sikkim Has A Blend Of Cultures And Traditions Of Nepal, India, Bhutan And Tibet. So, Does The Cuisine Of This State. The Bizarre Combination Of Various Cuisines Has Resulted Into One Specific Cuisine, Which Is Now Called As Cuisine Of Sikkim. Today, Sikkim Boasts Of Its Own Dietary Culture That Comprises Of Different Food Habits And Some Special Recipes. These Recipes And Habits Have Emerged With The Traditional Wisdom And Experiments Of Generations. The Traditional Food Of Sikkim, Is Gaining Popularity Among The Masses. In The Present Day, Sikkimese Cuisine Has Entered The Kitchens Of The World.

    In Sikkim, Himalaya's Traditional Foods Form An Essential Part Of Dietary Culture. Rice Is The Chief Food Of The Sikkimese. Depending On Availability, Meat And Dairy Products Are Consumed As Well. Apart From These Foods, A Range Of Traditional Fermented Foods And Beverages, Make The Basic Diet For Centuries. The Pattern Of Food Production Also Reveals The Gastronomy Of Sikkim. With High Altitudinal Variation, Crops Like Finger Millet, Wheat, Buckwheat, Barley, Vegetable, Potato, Soybeans Etc. Are Grown.

    The Cuisine Is Also Incorporated With Dals (lentils), Fresh Vegetables, Bamboo Shoots, Wild Flowers, Mushrooms And Nettle Leaves. Talking About Non-vegetarian Food, Beef, Pork And Fish Are Relishing Items. The Main Thing About The Cuisine Of Sikkim Is That It Materialized Under The Changing Needs, Geographical Compulsions And Cultural Contact Of The Adjoining Countries. Sikkim Cuisine Demonstrates The Good Sense Of The Residents, Who Took Only Those Styles And Methods From Other Cultures, Which Helped Their Mode Of Life, Maintaining Their Own Distinctive Cuisine. Momo (steamed Dumpling), Tomato Achar (pickle), Thukpa / Gya-thuk (noodle Soup), Kinema Curry (fermented Soybean), Gundruk And Sinki Soup (fermented Vegetable Soup), Gundruk Ko Achar (pickle), Chhurpi Soup (traditional Cottage Cheese), Chhurpi Ka Achar (pickle), Chhurpi-ningro Curry (chhurpi With Wild Fern), Sel Roti (fermented Rice Product), Shimi Ka Achar (string Bean Pickle), Pakku (mutton Curry) And Mesu Pickle (fermented Bamboo Shoot) Are Some Of The Local Dishes That Are Enjoyed By All The Communities In Sikkim.

    Fermented Vegetables And Beverages Are Very Common In The Sikkimese Tradition. Owing To This, People Can Preserve Vegetables, When They Befall Out Of Season. To Cope Up With The Chilly Weather, The Residents Of Sikkim Rely On Alcoholic Drinks That Are Popular Amongst Both Men And Women. An Assortment Of Soups, Pickles And Beverages Make The Sikkim Cuisine More Flavorsome And Delicious. Slowly And Steadily, The Cuisine Of Sikkim Is Getting More And More Popularity Due To Its Rich Taste And Enticing Flavor.

  • Carpet Weaving
    Carpet Weaving

    Sikkimese' Practice Of Weaving Is Probably The Oldest Form Of Carpet Weaving In The World. The Women Of The Bhutia Community Are Said To Be Expert Carpet Weavers. The Traditional Pattern Of Weaving Requires A Frame Loom. The Exclusive Manner Of Weaving, By The Hard-working Artisans Of Sikkim, Appears In The Designs Of Striking Carpets.

  • Wood Carving
    Wood Carving

    The Wood Carving In Sikkim Is Symbolic Of True Art Of India. Throughout Sikkim, One Can Trace Monasteries And Buildings, Festooned With Symbols And Icons Carved In Wood. The Mask Dance Of Sikkim Is Also Portrayed In Wood Carvings. You Can Find Superb Masks Made Out Of Wood And Papier-m�ch�. Pemayangtse Monastery Is A Fine Specimen Of Carved Wooden Sculptures And Wood Carvings.

  • Thangka Paintings
    Thangka Paintings

    Thangka Paintings Are Unique To The State Of Sikkim. Initially, These Paintings Were The Only Medium To Preach The Highest Ideals Of Buddhism. 'thangkas' Are Usually Made On Cotton Canvas With A Frame Of Silk. These Paintings Portray Images Of Different Gods, Goddesses And Philosophies Related To Buddhism. Originally, Paintings Were Made By Priests And Monks, Later The Skills Got Passed From Generation To Generation. Today, Commercialization Of This Art Is Helping Monasteries And Practitioners To Earn A Living.

  • Handicrafts

    The Native Sikkimese Weaves Various Striking Designs And Patterns. They Weave Woolen Blankets, Bags, Shawls And Jackets With The Reflection Of Their Mastery Over The Art. The 'thankas' (traditional Tapestry), Leather Works, Dolls, Multicolored Applique Work, Batiks, A Fine Collection Of Dolls And A Range Of Fashionable Garments Are The Additional Specialties Of Sikkim. To Develop And Promote Such Industries, The Government Has Established An Institute Of Cottage Industries. The Local Handicrafts Are Available Here On Sale.

  • Choktse Tables
    Choktse Tables

    Choktse Is A Kind Of Foldable Table And Has Become A Special Product Of Sikkim. Choktse Tables Are Renowned Here As Well As Outside India. These Tables Are Made In Different Designs And Dimensions.